A response to China’s mass DNA collection

The widespread, illegal collection of minorities’ DNA, particularly that of Tibetans, Uyghurs, and Kazakhs, is one of the most recent topics to receive attention on a global scale. A science magazine, Human Genetics, withdrew a research paper that used DNA sample collections, and it was crystal evident that no consent was acquired from the people who were hurt during the entire research procedure. It is unusual to ask for someone’s DNA if they have no criminal records or charges against them, but this is not the case in Tibet. The information obtained so far indicates that refusing is prohibited and that the police do not require concrete evidence of any unlawful behaviour in order to get DNA samples. Tibetans and other minorities were clearly the subject of China’s DNA policing programme. Although it is obvious that China is powerful and rarely gets touched, a recent letter denouncing China’s illegal and illegal acquisition of DNA samples was signed by several people, and this should hopefully have some effect on the situation.

A group of lawmakers from 15 legislatures around the world have urged their governments to look into and halt business dealings with companies like the PRC state-backed BGI Group and US company Thermo Fisher that are supplying the PRC government with technologies to conduct biometric surveillance in the Uyghur Region, Tibet, and other parts of the PRC. Human Rights Watch and other organisations have also reported that the PRC government has been conducting a widespread DNA collection operation in the Tibet Autonomous Region since June 2016. This programme is believed to have reached up to one third of Tibet’s total population, including many youngsters. According to investigations, the Tibet Autonomous Region’s police are known to receive DNA profiling kits from at least one American corporation, Thermo Fisher.

Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China who signed the letter include MEP Anna Fotyga, Senator Claire Chandler of Australia, MP Arif Virani of Canada, Senator Michael McDowell of Ireland, MP Simon O’Connor of New Zealand, and MEP Lord James Bethell of the United Kingdom. The parliamentarians demand that their governments cease business dealings with the BGI Group and Thermo Fisher and conduct additional investigations into the situation. A complete text of the letter and a list of the signatories are included. In response to these findings, IPAC EU member Engin Eroglu MEP declared: “Beijing’s bulk DNA gathering constitutes an intolerable interference with the right to privacy and human rights. I clamour for quick action from national and European authorities to look into and halt any dealings with businesses involved in DNA harvesting.”

The oppression committed by China comes as no surprise to the ethnic minority who have endured unending agony at the hands of the communist party. Every time China tries to eradicate the ethnic groups in their nation violently, it seems to sink to a new low. According to a recent report from Human Rights Watch, the Chinese government has reportedly been collecting DNA samples from Tibetan adults, children, and residents of the region without their permission. Additionally, their study revealed proof of the widespread DNA database collecting that occurred in the region under the pretence of a “crime detection” push. Since their unlawful conquest in the 1950s, China has always seen the total sinicization of Tibet as their ultimate objective. In a different report released on September 13, 2022, Citizen Lab discovered that over the previous six years, the Tibet Autonomous Region may have seen the collection of between 920,000 and 1.2 million DNA samples by the Chinese police. This figure represents between a quarter and a third of the Tibetan Autonomous Region’s overall population. In their findings, Human Rights Watch has also made it abundantly evident how Chinese officials are conducting a systematic collection of the DNA of people living in the Tibetan Autonomous Region by drawing blood from kids as young as 5 without their parents’ knowledge or agreement.

China has used Tibet as a testing ground for its coercive social control measures since its unlawful occupation began, according to the International Campaign for Tibet. These measures include persistent mass surveillance, the forced entry of Chinese military into Buddhist monasteries and other places of worship, and ongoing efforts to train Tibetans to spy on their neighbours using technology. The cruelty of China’s coercive practises has never decreased; on the contrary, it has only gotten worse. For more than 60 years, Tibet and its people have been illegally ruled by China, and they are still subject to the violence and persecution of the communist government. The torture and detention of Uyghur (Muslim) ethnic minority in Chinese labour camps is a problem that has only gotten worse over time. The Chinese government’s decision to permit ethnic minorities to work in local government agencies is meant to demonstrate to the rest of the world that China is a fair and just country. However, it is evident that state policies discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, and members of these groups are consistently repressed and mistreated.

This legislative group’s move is a tremendous step toward ensuring that any further action pertaining to this mass DNA collection is prohibited. China receiving assistance to carry out such savagery must be stopped fundamentally. It is imperative that businesses supplying the Chinese government with technologies for biometric surveillance in Tibet, the Uyghur region, and other parts of China are halted at all costs. More must be done to stop nations like China from abusing its ethnic minorities inhumanely and cruelly and from using them as mere props to sate their power-hungry appetites.


China, covid policy, Xi